December 23, 2020

Years ago, before I knew I was autistic, I spent eight months living in a highly neurodiverse house. Most of my housemates had ADHD, PTSD, bipolar, autism, or some combination of those. I might have been the only one who didn’t realize I was neurodivergent.

In that house, I didn’t feel like an introvert. I enjoyed being around people, because I didn’t feel the need to play a role – I could just be.

Stimming was common and accepted. People dressed however they liked. Meltdowns were an occasional part of life, not something big and scary.

Moreover, strengths were recognized and celebrated. I loved any form of categorizing, from putting away clean dishes to organizing the entire garage. Others took care of cooking food, washing dishes, tending the fire, and mowing the lawn – all things that I find hard for executive functioning or sensory reasons.

I moved out to escape the pain of unrequited love – the only negative part of an otherwise perfect environment. Eventually, the whole house shifted to new tenants. But I treasure the memory, as a taste of what’s possible when diverse neurotypes come together.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.